Cape Bre­ton should be ag­gres­sively mar­keted as a must-see des­ti­na­tion for tourists

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS -

Cape Bre­ton should be ag­gres­sively mar­keted as a hot-spot for tourists

The free un­so­licited ac­co­lades which Cape Bre­ton re­ceives keep com­ing. Na­tional Ge­o­graphic Mag­a­zine re­cently pub­lished a book en­ti­tled The Ten Best of Ev­ery­thing in the World — cities, ho­tels, trains, hik­ing and so forth. The Cape Bre­ton High­lands made the top 10 in lo­ca­tions to hike.

Like­wise, other travel writ­ers have saved the Nova Sco­tia Depart­ment of Tourism and Cul­ture and the tourist in­dus­try over the years huge dol­lars by pro­mot­ing our is­land. Even af­ter-the­fact pro­mo­tion of events in Cape Bre­ton have been use­ful. For ex­am­ple, the suc­cess­ful BikeFest 2009: Thun­der in the High­lands was cel­e­brated in an ar­ti­cle by Glenn Roberts in the De­cem­ber 2009 edi­tion of Mo­tor­cyle Mojo, the lead­ing mo­tor­cy­cle mag­a­zine in Canada. The pho­tos of the Fortress of Louis­bourg by Roberts and Harold Nes­bitt were es­pe­cially ef­fec­tive as pro­mo­tion for that fa­mous his­toric site. They speak well of a venue where the bik­ers were wel­comed with open arms. In his ar­ti­cle, Roberts praises the scenery, the peo­ple and the events. Ter­rific pub­lic­ity and all free.

Suc­cess­ful venues breed suc­cess. Scott Boyd, the chair­man and co-founder of BikeFest, tells me that as many as 10,000 bik­ers, and maybe more, may be com­ing to BikeFest 2010 in early Au­gust. The fes­ti­val will be pro­moted vig­or­ously by sev­eral part­ners, in­clud­ing the Nova Sco­tia Depart­ment of Tourism.

The Cana­dian Mo­to­cy­cle Tour­ing Club has cho­sen BikeFest as its first ma­jor event. To pro­mote this event, the new web­site www.cape­bre­ton­bike­fest.com will be launched on Thurs­day. As well, com­ments on BikeFest will be en­cour­aged on Twit­ter and Face­book.

That’s not all. BikeFest and its part­ners, in­clud­ing Fortress Louis­bourg, will at­tend the At­lantic Mo­tor­cy­cle and ATV con­ven­tion in Monc­ton, Fri­day through Sun­day. At least 17,000 peo­ple at­tend this event yearly. There­fore, the po­ten­tial for busi­ness net­work­ing is high. At the con­ven­tion, Boyd and his part­ners will be vig­or­ously pro­mot­ing Cape Bre­ton as a des­ti­na­tion. Scott tells me there have al­ready been sev­eral en­quiries about BikeFest 2010.

The truth is that in the highly com­pet­i­tive world of tourism we must pro­mote or per­ish. That said, I’d like to see more stand­alone ad­ver­tis­ing of Cape Bre­ton. My wish is that the Nova Sco­tia Depart­ment of Tourism would af­firm and pub­li­cize more the ac­co­lades that our is­land re­ceives. Be­tween 2004 and 2008, when I was a mem­ber of the board of Des­ti­na­tion Cape Bre­ton, this did not oc­cur to any great ex­tent. We were lumped in with other ar­eas and there­fore only re­ceived the briefest men­tion.

Nev­er­the­less, there has been an im­prove­ment in tourism’s ap­proach re­cently. It sup­ported, for ex­am­ple, Des­ti­na­tion Cape Bre­ton in 2007 and 2008 when our is­land re­ceived awards from Travel and Leisure mag­a­zine (based on read­ers’ com­ments), as one of the prime des­ti­na­tions in the world for pris­tine land­scape and friendly peo­ple. It flew the CEO of the DCBA to New York the first year to re­ceive an award and the pres­i­dent of the DCBA board the sec­ond. As well, in 2007, Tourism Nova Sco­tia pur­chased an ad on Cape Bre­ton in the above mag­a­zine.

If the num­ber of fly­ers and brochures that I re­ceive weekly from the cruise lines is any in­di­ca­tion, re­peat pro­mo­tions of an area never hurt. For ex­am­ple, Des­ti­na­tion Cape Bre­ton, in part­ner­ship with En­ter­prise Cape Bre­ton and the tourist in­dus­try, have planned a 24-page spread of stand­alone ad­ver­tis­ing in the April edi­tion of Saltscapes. This spread will be cir­cu­lated in Que­bec, On­tario and the Mar­itimes.

While Cape Bre­ton sells it­self, it’s nice to have a lit­tle help from our friends.

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